The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on January 31, 1967 · Page 1
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 1

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 31, 1967
Page 1
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BLYTHEVILLE COURIER NEWS VOI* 62—NO. 267 BLYTHEVILLE, ARKANSAS (72S1B) 1 TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 1967 TEN CENTS 12 PAGES Escapee Describes Brutality at Tucker Prison (Editor's Note) Shortly before]in other states which have the latest furor over brutality idled contested extradition cases at Arkansas' prison farms broke in the news media the Pine Bluff Commercial learned that an escaped convict was living in Michigan and was willing to talk about prison conditions. The Commercial sent newsman Tucker Steinmetz to Detroit to interview Poe. He wrote a four- part series for the Commercial and prepared a digest'of the series Press.) for The Associated By TUCKER STEINMETZ DETROIT Mich. (AP) - Le, gals freedom — at least in one state—came to Billy Wayne Poe Dec. 15 exactly two months after he drove away from Arkansas' Tucker State Prison Farm in a warden's car. The State of Arkansas never sought to extradite him. Poe, 21, of Pine Bluff had served less than two years of a seven-year sentence from Greene County for overdrafting in the amount of $60.70. For six checks none of which exceeded $10 Poe received as many five- year concurrent sentences. For writing a $3 hot check he got seven years. Recently Poe granted an interview at the office of his lawyer here to tell a story of torture brutality and extortion at Tucker that he had planned to tell in court. Mrs. Lucille Watts Poe's lawyer cautioned him against inviting adverse publicity but he said: "It might help somebody down there." At that time the results of a State Police investigations into conditions at Tucker last August were known only to a few and the picture he painted of the smaller branch of the state's penal system had only been hinted • at by prison and state officials. His words would not have seemed novel to certain courts involving Arkansas escapees, however. Judges in at least three other states had heard prisoners' accounts of wanton beatings payoffs for favors illicit sexual activities and inhumane methods of punishment. Briefly here are some examples he cited: He was familiar with the device which the State Police report identified as the "Tucker Telephone" and said he had been both a witness and a victim of the old crank-type telephone generator which he said was wired to an inmate's groin and cranked furiously. "I've seen guys go crazy from the pain" Poe recalled. Poe said that the prison was a frequent site of the disciplinary sessions he called "torture." Inmates were often taken there to be beaten with boots, canes, fists or blackjacks and then were released ivithout medical attention, he said. Another disciplinary method devised and administered in the infirmary was the insertion of hypodermis needles under the fingernails deep into the flesh, Poe said. Trusty guards randomly beat rank men (the lowliest figures in the prison social scale), Poe said, either because the inmates had not turned over some money that came from outside ftie prison or perhaps just "to tighten them up." Poe recounted the story of one guard who struck a prisoner with a board and broke the inmate's arm. The broken limb was not set and It mended crooked, Poe said. Relatives and friends are per- mates to allow them to buy mates to How them to buy cigarettes and food at the prison commissary. The money is New Farm Labor Law to be Topic supposed to pass through the prison office to be changed into brozine (prison exchange). Poe said an inmate had little chance to keep his money for his own use. "Mother would send me money so I could get something to eat," Poe said. "I was getting $10 a week from her, and the yardman, the long-line rider, all the trustys knew I was getting it. And they all tried to get it from me." It was a "vicious cycle of ex- might find his letters lost, his underwear missing after he got his laundry, not get enough to eat or be taken out behind the barracks and "stomped" if he failed to pay the trustys. He continued for hours de- tortion," Poe said, in which one | scribing the incidents he wit- nessed, sometimes laughing quietly as he remembered some of the tilings that happened to him at Tucker and occasionally showing a scar he acquirec while a prisoner. He is free now, married ant determined to "prove that Senate Approves Turnpike Authority $ 3 Car License Reduction Fails Tomorrow will be a historic day for farmers ... perhaps they won't remember it as a red letter day, but it will be historic. It is the day certain types of farm labor come under the $1 an hour minimum wage. In order to better inform farmers of what is in store for them, the County Agriculture Ex tension Service and the U. S. Department of Labor are joining in the sponsorship of a clinic Friday. The 1:30 p.m. meeting will be held in the conference room Dateline JAN 31 MEXICO CITY (AP) - Representatives from 21 American countries begin meeting in Mexico City tonight lor final work on a treaty to create a nuclear- free zone in Latin America. It will be the fourth session of the Preparatory Committee for the Denuclearization of Latin America, headed by Alfonso Garcia Robles of Mexico. He hopes the treaty will be signed at the end of the sessions. SAIGON, South Vietnam (AP) — South Korean infantrymen reported today killing 71 Viet Cong in a new operation on South Vietnam's central coast while U.S. Marines counted 35 more enemy dead on the northern coast. LITTLE ROCK (AP) - A bill has been introduced in the Arkansas House to create a penal institution for first offenders under 21 years of age. The measure, authorized by Rep. F. B. Manatt of Coming, would establish a five-member committee to determine the cost of such an institution and recommend a site separate from existing penal facilities. of Mississippi County Electric Cooperative on Broadway and is open to everyone. Two principal speakers will talk on the effects of the new federal wage legislation. They are Willard L. Krueger of the U. S. Department of Labor's Jonesboro office, and Hildred Bunch, Yarbro farmer who is chairman of the Mississippi County Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Committee. Those who have studied the new law say it is important for small farmers (who may not be covered) to learn how to keep records, which they will need to prove their exemption from the act. Most farmers can anticipate extensive record der the new law. keeping un- Methods of handling these records and how the law deals with tenants will be among the principal items of discussion. Williams To Head Federal Bank Board OSCEOLA — Monday James S. Williams was appointed chairman of the board of directors of the Memphis branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Williams is assistant vice- president of the Osceola division of American Greetings Corp. and has been here since 1961. He succeeds Edward LeMaster, who recently completed his second three-year term as a member of the board. Williams finishes his first three - year term in 1967. Williams, who joined American Greetings at its Cleveland, Ohio, headquarters In 1947, is a member of the Osceola Rotary Club, a director of the Osceola Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Arkansu Chamber of Commerce. By GEORGE F. BART»CH Associated Press Writer LITTLE ROCK (AP) - The Arkansas House defeated 57-29 Monday a bill by Rep. Chadd Durrett of Strong that would have provided a $3 across-the- board reduction in the cost of license plates for automobiles and pickup trucks. Highway Director Ward Goodman told the House that Durrett's bill would cost the Highway Department $1.7 million a year in revenue and reduce state turnback to cities and counties by $380,000 each. Durrett said the 1965 legislature raised the cost of license plates too high, and that the public was clamoring for relief. In other legislative action Monday, the Senate approved a bill to create a nine-member Arkansas Turnpike Authority and confirmed four of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller's state board and commission appointments. The House and Senate convened at 1 p.m. today. The Turnpike Authority, ro- posed in a bill fay Sen. Russell Elrod of Siloam Springs, would have the power to select sites and issue revenue fonds for construction of toll roads. Rep. Marion Crank of Foreman withdrew a similar bill in the House after opposition developed to some of its provis- Elrod said the administration favored the bill, which grew out of western Arkansas' desire for a highway from the Missouri border to the Louisiana state line. Bonds issued by the authority would be retired through revenue from the tolls and from $250,000 in state gasoline tax turnback. There would be no other obligation on the state. When bonds were retired, revenue from the tolls could be used to pay off bonds on other turnpike projects, or the turn- BiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiFiiiiiiiififiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiriiiiiiiriiiiiii'iiiii'iiiii! BULLETIN SAN ANTONIO, Tex. (AP) A mysterious fire flashed through a space cabin simulator today at the School of Aerospace Medicine, killing one airman and critically burning a second. A Brooks Air Force Base spokesman said the fire broke out under conditions similar to those which killed . the three Apollo 1 astronauts at Cape Kennedy Friday. The spokesman said the two airmen were doing rot- tine maintenance work in an altitude chamber rigged for an experiment to study the hemolology of rabbits. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINI, pike could become part of the state's free highway system. The Senate aproved the measure 33-1, with Sen. Morrell Gathright Casting the only "no" vote. Gathright said he feared a turnpike in western Arkansas would eliminate the possibility of extending Interstate 29 from Kansas City to New Orleans via a central Arkansas route. Backers of the Elrod bill have said the turnpike would be constructed to interstate highway standards and could be made part of the interstate system if federal funds become available in 1972. The Senate confirmed the appointments of Joe Brooks to the board of Arkansas State College at Jonesboro, John Norman Harkey as state insurance commissioner, James R. McKinley Sr. to the Publicity and Parks Commission and Frank L. Coffman Jr. to the Savings and Loan Board. The House adopted on a voice vote a resolution urging Congress to re-evaluate the reasons for U.S. participation in the Vietnam war and to bring the conflict to an honorable conclusion as soon as possible. Rep. Harry Carter of Little Rock opposed the measure on grounds that its wording indicated the House did not suport American troops fighting in Vietnam, and Rep. George Mo- wotny of Fort Smith agreed. ". . . w're telling the, 'Boys, you're wasting your lives,'" Nowotny said. " 'Your Congress is cheating you.'" N. B. (Nap) Murphy of Hamburg, who introduced the measure, said that wasnt its intent. "I say we ought to win the war or get out," he said. "We could fight this war for 50 years under the same conditions we are now." In other action Monday, the House: —Defeated a resolution asking Congress to submit a constitutional amendment for the election of presidential electors by congressional districts instead of on the state level. —Approved a bill to increase by one per cent the contribution of 110 state agencies to the Arkansas State Employes Retirement System. —Declined to act on amendment that would have made it a capital offense to kill a policeman under the provisions of a bill to abolish capital punishment. The Senate: —Amended a bill to prohibit political activity by state em- ployes by excluding public school teachers and providing the right to appeal to a circuit court for those found guilty of violating the provisions of the See LEGISLATURE on Page ~ 1964 Report Revealing Apollo Fire Not First WASHINGTON (AP) — Fires in oxygen-filled chambers — like that in the space capsule where three astronauts perished Friday — were the subject of a 3-year-old report to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In one 1962 accident, the report shows, four men received critical burns when electricity ignited their chamber full of oxygen. The same year, a fire of unknown origin caused both persons in a simulated space cabin to lose consciousness. The report took on added significance today in the wake of the blaze which killed astronauts Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White H and Roger B. Chaffee as they sat in their Apollo spacecraft atop a 218-foot rocket. The main difference between Friday's tradegy and the earlier fires was that the pure oxygen atmosphere in the Apollo spacecraft was pressurized at 16 pounds per square inch — three times the pressure said to be involved in the other blazes. The higher pressure, the more Heart Fund Drive Starts Tomorrow Collections from Blytheville merchants for the Heart Fund are scheduled for Feb. 1 hrough 10, according to John Lutes, business collections chairman. The campaign will be carried on during normal working lours and a lapel pin will be given to those who donate. Lutes adds that 22 representatives will be making the col- ectioni. effectively oxygen feeds flames. And the higher pressure makes other objects more combustible. The 1964 report, prepared for NASA by the Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research of Albuquerque, N.M.. said experimenters had con- •••IIIIIH^ Last Statements From Astronauts lo cockpit, the source said. But the hatch was unyielding, he said, and they had no time to reach for the ratchet that is normally used to unscrew it. There was no automatic release button. NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Times said today that the last words heard from the three Apollo 1 astronauts who were killed last Friday were: "We're on fire! Get us out of here!" The shrill voice was believed to be that of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffee, the Times said in a dispatch from Cape Kennedy, Fla. It was previously reported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that the ast woi'tis, tYyt'i sn 'aidentified voice were: "Fire in the spacecraft!" The Times' story gave this account: The astronss'is' last moments, clocked at 12 seconds, were described by an engineer who spent most of the day listening to tape recordings of the fatal test and who heard reports from men on the Hunching pad at the time of the tragedy. Commander Chaffee and the other crewmen, Lt. Cols. Virgil I. Grissom and Edward H. White H of the Air Force were scrambling, clawing and pound- Ing to open th» sealed hatch and «tcape the inferno in their Apol- iNWinifiiiiMiniiiiiiMiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiniiiiiiHiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiN^ The first hint of trouble, according to the source, came in almost casual tones. "Fire ... I smell fire," an unidentified astronaut reported over the intercom. Two seconds passed. "Fire in the cockpit!" cried Col. White. This time the voice was sharp and insistent. It was identified as Col. White's by Donald K. Slayton, a former astronaut and now chief of crew operations. There was silence for three seconds — then an hysterical shout from an unidentified astronaut: "There's a bad fire in the spacecraft!" A longer silence followed, about seven seconds. There were sounds of frantic movement, unintelligible shotting. Finally, after another four seconds, Commander Cbaffee cried out the last words of distress: 'We're on fire! Get us out of here!" quered many of the fire hazards involved in 100 per cent oxygen- filled chambers. This, said the report, may have bred "a false sense of security." The 1962 incident in which two experimenters lost consciousness occurred at the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base, Tex. The report said smoke had not been detected by sight or smell when the blaze broke out. The other fire detailed in the report happened at the aircrew equipment laboratory of the Naval Air Center in Philadelphia. Four experimenters were in a 100 per cent oxygen chamber pressurized at five pounds per square inch. The fire broke out after one of the men replaced a burned out electrical ceiling fixture. The men tried to snuff out the blaze with a towel and an asbestos fire blanket, but both objects ignited. All four men received second- degree burns, said the report. Scout Campaign To Begin Next Week The Mississippi County campaign to raise funds for a Boy Scout camp at Viola to serve Eastern Arkansas is scheduled to begin early next week. Toler Buchanan has been named fund chairman, Ross Hughes will be major chairman, Nick Rose special gifts chairman, and Max Hefley wiss serve as community chairman. The camp Is Intended to serve 16 counties of Eastern Arkansas and a minimum total »f $350,000 is the campaign goal. liad .a gate pass Maurice Heston, want to start over." In December he was working at a service station, but this month he got a job in an automobile assembly plant near here. There are three accounts of how he happened to leave the prison. Poe maintained that he signed by a former warden, and the warden's car. He had the car, he said, to visit a girl at McGehee and fulfilled that purpose before making his escape. Heston readily admitted that B had issued Poe a gate pass and had turned his car over to lim. However, while Poe said that he had given Heston a case of beer to get permission to leave, Heston claimed that Poe was only to go into Pine Bluff on an errand and that he was ;o take Heston's son with him. On the day of the escape, fee State Police reported that Poe had fled in a prison truck and the agency did not issue a correction in subsequent bulletins. Police records in Michigan show that Poe arrived in that state on Oct. 17, stopped for supper at the home of a relative at Bancroft and proceeded directly to the State Police post at Flint, where he turned himself in. He announced then that he would fight extradition and, within a week, he had a lawyer. Why Was he not extradited? No one seems to know, and Poe doesn't care. Prison Superintendent 0. E, Bisfiop recently thanked a reporter for "bringing me up to date on the case." He said ha didn't know what happened. Kugene B. Hale Jr., an administrative aide to former Governor Orval E. Faubus, claimed that the governor knew about Poe. Jefferson County Pros. Atty. Joe Holmes said he thought toe papers were prepared but didn't know why they were not delivered. "I've got to prove that I want to start over," Poe said with enthusiasm and adolescent idealism. But it hasn't been easy. He explained: "I used to lie awake nights thinking, sometimes thinking about killing those guys, but I'm getting over that now and [earning to control my temper." Job Corps Costly WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep". Robert H. Michel says the Job Corps is "a mighty costly program" that has required $53,502 for each graduate. "Admittedly the program has had its problems in tooling-.up and this initial cost would naturally balloon the cost of the first graduates," the Illinois Republican told the House Monday. • "But we have come far enough now where we ought to be seeing some better results," Michel said. Army Units Take Tsingtao for Mao By RENE-GEORGES 1NAGAKI | and "severely struck down" the TOKYO (AP) - Mao Tse- tung's forces today claimed capture of the Shantung Province port of Tsingtao with army nelp but said they had to beat down an aparently bloody counterattack by supporters of President Liu Shao-chi. Tsingtao, the U. S. Navy's headquarters in China until the Communists took over, was the fourth major city claimed by the Maoists in their current at- temt to gain control of the government and the Chinese Communist party. The others are Shanghai, Peking and Taiyuan, capital of Shansi Province. The Liberation Army Daily, controlled by Mao's heir appar- mt, Defense Minister Lin Piao, said Tsingtao was seized by Maoist revolutionaries on Jan. 22. But it said the city adminis- ration employed "white terror" Communist phraseology for assassination and torture — to launch a "counteroffensive on the newly born revolutionary 'ebel committee and attempted :o continue bourgeois rule." The report said the pro-Liu •orces attacked the Tsingtao daily and "obstructed and hreatened the Tsingtao people's •adio station" in an attempt to ilock a message to Mao. The army unit siding with Hao broke through this encirclement, the army daily said, attack. It added that the army force, identified only as "a certain unit," staged a demonstration with full armament Jan. 28 to show its support for Mao. "This action by the liberation army greatly blunted the hot air of the class enemies and helped the people who were blindfolded to wake up," the army paper said. Since the 1949 Communist conquest, Tsingtao has been a major base for Communist construction in the interior. It has large cotton, paper, oilseed and flour mills, shipyards, a tire factory and locomotive shops. Mao's strategy in grabbing the cities — the reverse of his policy in the 1930s policy of winning the countryside — is based on the tactics of the 1871 Paris Commune. Following its pattern, he has called for formation of revolutionary committees of peasants, students, Workers, military men and intellectuals and instructed them to take over city governments. In Hong Kong the English-language Star said it had received reports that the army commander in Sinkiang Province, Gen. Wang En-mao, had threatened to seize the Chinese nuclear test base at Lop Nor if Mao's forces tried to take over the Sinkiang provincial government. 60 Adults Go to School About 60 adults have regis- ered for night classes in Engish and mathematics at Blytheville High School. Classes began last Thursday SOUL MINERS MAKE CLAIM PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) Northern Arizona University las asked permission to set up a hair of philosophy to inves- igate whether man has a soul. Dr. J. Lawrence Walkup, uni- ersity president, told the State loard of Regents Monday that $0, briefs have been filed by r arious parties in an effort to btain the $200,000 left by an Arizona miner for research on the human soul. Tie money was left by James Kidd who disappeared in 1950 and was declared legally dead eight years later. At last count, more than a thousand persons and organizations have put in a claim for the money. but registration still is open, according to D. B. Meador, principal. If as many as 10 persons register, a class in typing will be taught, according to Meador. Registration will be tonight starting at 7 p.m., he said.- The cost is $5 per semester and, "another $5 will probably be spent on text books," he said. After one year the student will qualify for a general educational develoment test. Upon passing the test he receives a certificate equivalent to a high school diploma, Meador said. iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidiii Weather Forecast Increasing cloudiness tonight and mostly cloudy Wednesday. Cooler tonight and mild Wednesday. Scattered showers and possible thundershowers late Wednesday. Low tonight in the 40s. High Wednesday 64-70. iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnii*

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